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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those indispensible web-design books!
These days, with applications such as "Flash" and "Frontpage" being used to put all the bells and whistles on applications, most wouldn't give a second thought to this book. This is unfortunate. This book is without a doubt the most important book anyone who has a background in HTML can pick up. It deals in great depth with the W3C CSS 1.0 standard,...
Published on July 26 2001 by salexa

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3.0 out of 5 stars Great depth, poor editing
No doubt about it, Eric Meyer knows CSS inside and out! This book should be a fantastic reference for people who really want to explore the power of CSS.
Unfortunately the editing is so poor in many areas that you have to work through examples on your computer to see the effects being described. Screen shots are used to illustrate coding examples, but details which...
Published on May 26 2004 by M. Wood


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those indispensible web-design books!, July 26 2001
By 
"salexa" (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
These days, with applications such as "Flash" and "Frontpage" being used to put all the bells and whistles on applications, most wouldn't give a second thought to this book. This is unfortunate. This book is without a doubt the most important book anyone who has a background in HTML can pick up. It deals in great depth with the W3C CSS 1.0 standard, which allows the web designer to customize and standardize their pages to the minutest detail. I was surprised at how comprehensive this book was since it showed me how to do everything from creating lists bulleted with custom images to layering text/images on top of one another. The use of external cascading style sheets allowed me to create elaborate "standard" pages that could be updated by merely changing the stylesheet file. This concept is carried further in eXtensible Style Sheet language (XSL) and therefore is probably the best introduction to XML, before actually beginning to read up on XML! One thing in particular (among many!) about this book that I liked was the extensive use of screenshots to illustrate the effects of various scripts, something often missing from O'Reilly books. After reading this excellent tutorial/reference, read "JavaScript, the Definitive Guide", and "Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference" to learn how to create powerful client-side web pages (pop-up images, pop-down menus, etc.). Throw out FrontPage and really begin developing!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource, June 28 2004
By 
C. M. Lowry (Columbia JUG, Columbia, SC USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
The subtitle claims this volume is the definitive guide, I believe it. This book provides comprehensive coverage of the current cascading style sheets specification and how it is being of being implemented (or not). The focus is on the CSS2 and CSS2.1 specs. My first impression of the book was that it would be a valuable reference manual, but as I began to read it, I soon realized it would serve as a great instructional source also. The writing style is as if a good friend sat down to explain style sheets. I found the pacing of the material to appropriate and the detail of the explanations to be exhaustive.
The chapter on selectors (chapter 2) was extremely valuable for me. It helped me to understand why some things did not work as I thought they should. Throughout the book, differences between the specification and the implementation in certain products are explained. Additionally, the differences between various levels of CSS are highlighted. The book has numerous examples for the CSS elements and variations.
This is a great book on CSS, but I wish that electronic versions of the examples were available. This is the only shortcoming of the book that I see. This book is a great tutorial and a valuable reference. Regular practice of the techniques contained within this volume can assist the reader in voiding the abuse of the table and fonts tags.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great depth, poor editing, May 26 2004
By 
M. Wood (Boulder, CO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
No doubt about it, Eric Meyer knows CSS inside and out! This book should be a fantastic reference for people who really want to explore the power of CSS.
Unfortunately the editing is so poor in many areas that you have to work through examples on your computer to see the effects being described. Screen shots are used to illustrate coding examples, but details which would help the reader interpret the picture are often left out. For example, when looking at an explanation of overlapping elements, you may be left to figure out whether a space between two lines of text is 20 pixels or 30 pixels wide when there is no reference of scale in the picture. You have to guess or try it out yourself.
When a series of examples are used to illustrate a concept, there is a lack of consistency in the example code. Instead of only changing the one element or parameter being discussed, a similar, but different, example is used so you can't simply look at two successive illustrations to see the effect of the change. In a few cases, whole lines of example code are missing. Probably lost in the shuffle while moving Figures and blocks of text to get the page layout right.
That said, there is a wealth of information here if you are willing to work a little to get it. I would still highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to seriously dive into CSS -- but if all you are looking for is an introduction or a basic reference, there are probably less frustrating sources out there.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A solid reference manual..., April 14 2004
By 
Thomas Duff "Duffbert" (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
Target Audience
Web developers who need a comprehensive guide on the use of CSS1 and CSS2 technology.
Contents
This book is an extensive guide on cascading style sheet technology, specifically the CSS1 and CSS2 specifications.
The book is divided into the following chapters:
CSS and Documents; Selectors; Structure and the Cascade; Values and Units; Fonts; Text Properties; Basic Visual Formatting; Padding, Borders, and Margins; Colors and Backgrounds; Floating and Positioning; Table Layout; Lists and Generated Content; User Interface Styles; Non-Screen Media; Property Reference; Selector, Pseudo-Class, and Pseudo-Element Reference; Sample HTML 4 Style Sheet; Index
Review
Most of my development work is not concentrated on the user interface. To date, I've been able to live with just a minimal amount of HTML and JavaScript knowledge. But more and more I'm being drawn into web design work, and CSS is playing a significant part in that. In order to have the information I need to do my job, I got a copy of this book and I'm glad I did.
Meyer does a nice job in balancing the material between code examples, reference to cover all the parameters, and example output to show what the code will do. I think the last part is very important, as it allows you to visualize the type of effects a certain command will have, and from there you can start to apply it to your own web site. I am undecided as to whether this would make a good first tutorial for someone just learning CSS. For me, it's a better reference guide once you have some basic CSS understanding.
There is one formatting decision that the author made in the second edition that some might find irritating. He decided that to keep the book from growing too large, the information about which browsers support which features would be dropped from the print version. You can get that information from the online web site, so it's not like you're left in the cold. But if that information is important to you and you want one-stop reading, this book might not be what you want.
Conclusion
A solid reference manual on CSS that you will use for coding examples, parameter reference, and visual examples of the effects you can obtain.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Explanation of CSS, Jan. 24 2004
By 
Though I had a basic knowledge of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), I did not know the full power of them. CSS has the ability to do many things, but basically the strength of it over plain HTML is that you are able to define a "style" to be applied to your whole website. To change the look and feel, you simply change a few lines in your style sheet and your whole site is updated. CSS can be used even if you have a site that consists of just one page.
Eric Meyer's book will put you on your way to using CSS. A basic knowledge of HTML is helpful to understand the first part of the book. He jumps into the book as if this was a sequel to a book he just finished on HTML. He takes for granted that you understand how pages are built.
Typical of many technical books, the information is often repeated so that you can jump into any chapter and get the basic information of how to make it work. That said, I only found one place in the book where he actually tells you how to link to a style sheet. Therefore, you need to read much of the introductory material.
If you have an understanding of CSS and this is going to be a reference work, you will not be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, Aug. 9 2003
By 
Paul Martin (Albuquerque, NM) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I learned CSS from this book. It's probably not the best book for an introduction to CSS, but it worked quite well for me. As part of O'Reilly's Definitive Guide series, the book has a format which is awkward for a beginning text. These books are meant to be encyclopedic in coverage, so every topic gets discussed down to the last arcane detail before you move on to the next one. That's probably not the approach I would take if I were teaching a course on the subject. But that was probably not the intent of the book.
The odd thing was, the writing was so good that the book worked quite will as an introduction. Eric Meyer is one of the world's top experts on CSS, and he is also a marvelous writer. That is an unusual combination, and one that readers should take note of. Over time, I will probably acquire all of Meyer's books. He is that good.
Don't expect this to be the only book you need on the subject. The web is a fast changing medium, and books tend to lag behind the material that is accumulating on the web itself. There is excellent materail on sites like zeldman.com, meyerweb.com, alistapart.com, webmonkey.com and elsewhere. There are also other books which take different approaches, which will fill in some of the gaps. That is to be expected; no one book can do it all.
Unfortunately, the book is getting a little outdated. Many modern browsers are supporting CSS2 by now, and proposals for CSS3 are already circulating. Meyer is already at work on the second edition. We all have something to look forward to.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Complete, June 13 2003
By 
A. Turner - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is the only book you need on Cascading Style Sheets. It is absolutely complete, and will allow you to get started right away designing simple style sheets. On the other hand, if you are willing to take the time to browse other designer's code while simultaneously using this book, you will find yourself designing complex style sheets right away!
Before picking up this book, I was familiar with style sheets in the most basic sense. Within a week, I was designing moderately complex stylesheets more or less on my own, only occasionally using the book for reference. I can now easily write CSS on my own and no longer "need" the book, but I do still often find myself referring to it while using some of the trickier positioning elements. It has been an invaluable reference.
I give this book five stars and, based on my description above, I think it is clear that recommend it to anyone who wants to use CSS; HOWEVER, there is one caveat - this book does not cover the CSS2 specification in depth. When it was written, CSS2 was on the horizon, but not yet a reality. The book therefore has a chapter that talks theoretically about CSS2, but it cannot give hard and fast rules or make definitive statements about the specification. Now that CSS2 is a reality, however, the book is slightly dated. If you are interested in making an investment in this book, you may wish to visit the O'Reilly Web site and see if a new edition is soon forthcoming. If so, I would recommend waiting for the 2nd. Ed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Comprehensive Guide to CSS1, April 15 2003
By 
John Nolley II (Fairfax, VA United States) - See all my reviews
Most people who have happened to work on web pages know something about stylesheets--yet very few actually know how to properly take full advantage of their features even at the "level 1" standard fairly well supported by most web browsers today.
If you've struggled to make a web page look like you want it, resorting to multipe FONT tags, tables, and formatting tags, then you need this book. If you've written a stylesheet or two but find yourself creating and applying styles to the point it seems more trouble than it's worth, this book is for you. From what I learned, I cut both the size of stylesheets and web pages for a number of both personal and company web pages--at times by more than a half--simply through a better understanding of the workings of stylesheets.
Beginning with the basics of what stylesheets actually are and building upon that basis with concepts like cascading, selectors, elements and pseudo-elements, the book will give readers an understanding of CSS difficult to appreciate merely through reading over other people's web pages or through trial and error. An exhaustive treatment of each sort of style--from fonts to inline elements to boxes--follows and covers nearly everything one could want to know about CSS1.
That said, the book could use an update as since 2000 the browser wars have evolved as has the application of CSS2, which is only touched upon by the book. However, unless you are already a pro at styles, you'll likely find this an invaluable reference, much as any title in the O'Reilly series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A One Stop Information Shop, Feb. 24 2003
As someone who has never using Cascading Style Sheets in the past, I never realized just how much work this language could save me. I am still amazed at the fact that I can control every aspect of an entire webpage regardless of size by editing various components of the style sheet file.
Never before have my website been as error-free and consistent as they are now. Using CSS2, I was able to ensure that each element of my sites is consistent and correctly displayed on almost all web browsers. I no longer spend hours each month chasing down what I used to call "code flaws" that would cause a section of the page to be improperly displayed in various browsers.
Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide is an excellent resource for anyone who wishes to learn to utilize this time-saving language to automate and centralize the task of website maintenance.
Written with a very straight-forward, no-bull approach - I found this book to be a very easy read. The examples provided along the way connected the dots and the appendixes were extremely helpful as a syntax reference. The book is easy to understand even for someone who is not an expert and takes the user from knowing nothing to mastery in just a few short hours.
In less than two hours, I had created a basic style sheet that effectively managed the formatting of my website and put me back in control. Over the next 20 to 30 hours, I had tweaked the style sheet to control every aspect of every page of the entire site and rolled the feature out across the entire site - which consists of more than 2500 separate HTML files or fragment files.
I now estimate that I have 10 additional hours every week to focus on my business and not tweaking my website constantly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars For those who learn by example - not a quick reference!, Feb. 23 2003
By 
"websiteowner" (Morecambe, Lancashire UK) - See all my reviews
There are times when a comprehensive list of properities simply isn't enough. At times like these, when my problem is CSS related, I reach for this book. This is one of those books you will need to get a more in-depth knowledge of CSS. It goes through the very basics of style sheets, to make sure that you not only know how to use them, but also that you know how they work!
This is a great book for those that learn by example, as there are plenty to go around. There is something about this book that makes it's approach to learning by example that little bit different, as it provides the basis to allow you to test out what you've learnt from early on. Another nice feature is the case study that converts a HTML only page into one that uses CSS.
For those of you who are struggling to get a browser to behave with a particular style sheet, then this book has some real gems to help make your pages more consistent amongst browsers. The problem is finding them! They are scattered throughout the book and I sometimes get the feeling they were added merely as necessary afterthoughts. Perhaps the next edition would benefit from a section devoted to gathering these tips into a chapter devoted to browser inconsistencies... that is, if they are still a problem at the time the next edition is printed.
As with all reference books, they tend to age. Cascading Style Sheets covers very little of the new CSS2 selectors and properties, which I'm sure will be covered in much better detail in subsquent versions of the book. While it may not be as complete as it could be, it is the book I recommend to those wanting to learn more about the basics of CSS.
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Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide by Eric A. Meyer (Paperback - March 28 2004)
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